Horror Through My Eyes with…Richard Rowntree


For the latest edition of Horror Through My Eyes, we are joined by director Richard Rowntree to discover the horror films that have shaped his career so far.

The Horror Film That Makes You Sick –
I find it really difficult to watch anything body horror related. Needles make me particularly uncomfortable! But for sheer WTF/sickening feelings, I have to say “A Serbian Film” was very close to making me nauseous!

The horror film that scares you the most –
It’s so difficult to think of movies that genuinely scare me – but the American remake of “The Ring” had a pretty profoundly scary effect on me – I was travelling around the US at the time and was staying in a rustic log cabin when I went to see that movie. We had bought a cell phone when we arrived in the US, 3 months prior, and hadn’t used it, and it hadn’t rung. Then in the middle of the night after seeing that film, it did, and I was terrified!

The Horror film you can only watch alone –
I’m a bit of a nerd and I prefer to watch all movies alone if I’m honest! But gauging other people’s reactions is also part of the fun of horror films. I can repeatedly watch “The Shining” but prefer to do so alone, in the pitch blackness!

That horror film you own but secretly hate –
Hate is a strong word, but I’ve definitely bought some in the past that I didn’t enjoy. I had been told great things about a movie called “The Borderlands” and so ordered a copy online. I put it on and realised I had ordered the wrong movie – it was one called “Borderland” – and it was not my cup of tea at all!

Your horror guilty pleasure –
‘Guilty pleasure’ implies that there’s something wrong with liking a particular movie – and I’m not sure that’s ever really the case – but I quite enjoyed the prequel to “The Exorcist” by Paul Schrader and people take the piss out of me for it, haha!

That horror film with a better cast than its script –
There’s plenty of those around! A lot of horror films fall down for me in their final act which obviously has a big bearing on how you feel about them after viewing. And a lot of big-budget stuff and remakes don’t hold water too well. I’m rambling…I’ll say “A Quiet Place” (though I did enjoy it until the final act!)

The horror film you have rewatched the most –
“The Shining”, “Jaws” and “The Thing” – I’ve seen all of those well over 100 times each, but no idea which one most!

That horror film you have owned on VHS, DVD and Blu Ray –
Now I feel embarrassed…I don’t own a Blu Ray player! But I have had multiple copies of the three films mentioned above, including the “taped off tv” VHS, purchased VHS and DVDs!

Your scariest cinematic experience –
I had a really tough time after seeing “Paranormal Activity” the first time. I was working over in LA and I went to see it around Hallowe’en then went back to my tiny apartment which had a disproportionately large number of doors in it. All through the night, I kept thinking I could hear them creak open!

That horror film you need a shower after watching –
“A Serbian Film” again springs to mind – but also “Martyrs” gave me that feeling! And “Last House on the Left” obviously – plus “Straw Dogs”. I’m not a fan of anything really that features graphic sexual violence.

The horror film that made your jaw hit the floor –
I was pretty surprised when I saw “The Human Centipede 2” at its world premiere. Surprised that it was, in my opinion, very intelligently written and extremely gross at the same time. “An American Werewolf In London” also, as a kid, made me think “wow!” – there are some really scary moments in that when you’re ten!

A horror film you used to love but now despise –
I’ve grown tired of watching a lot of the 80’s stuff now – or anything too formulaic – I wouldn’t say I despise anything really, but, and I know this is probably blasphemy in the horror community to admit, but I don’t like any of the Friday 13th films (though I did harbour affection for the first one for a time after seeing it).

On the flip side, a horror film you despised but now love –
I’ve grown to appreciate films which didn’t hit home when I was younger for sure. I felt really let down when I first saw “The Babadook” but it has grown on me. As a kid, I didn’t have any love for the old Universal classics – but I can now appreciate the inferences and themes in them, as well as the time from which they came.

The horror film you laughed the most at that isn’t a comedy –
“El Chupacabra” would probably top this list for me – if you haven’t, then check it out! Anything where the stakes are implausibly high and the actors couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag makes me laugh!

What is the craziest practical effect you have seen in a horror film –
The chest defibrillation/spider legs growing out of Norris’ head in “The Thing” still really holds up and is so batshit crazy you can’t help but love it. More recently I loved the similar vibe they used in “The Void”.

The film that you introduced family or a friend to that you wished you hadn’t –
When my wife and I were young, she would watch horror movies with me to placate me. But then we went to the cinema for the re-release of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and that was it – she refuses to watch anything horror with me any more, supposing, I think, that I had duped her into something she found so terrifying it will never leave her!

Richard Rowntree’s Dogged in now available on DVD from Amazon and his latest feature Nefarious is available in North America through Amazon.

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